VILLAGERS are celebrating after raising enough cash for a new community play area.

It is the second piece of good news in under a month for the children of Croft, near Darlington.

A few weeks ago, villagers found out that work has nearly been completed at Clow Beck Children's Farm just outside the village.

The farm will give youngsters the chance to get away from technology and learn about self-sufficient living.

Yesterday, the celebrations continued when it was announced that £12,500 has been raised to fund a playground for youngsters in the village.

The fundraising started when staff at Croft CE Primary School decided children in the village needed high quality play facilities.

There is no play area in the village which means youngsters at the village's after-school and holiday clubs, and those in nearby areas, have no where to play outside in safety.

Teachers, parents and children started to organise fund-raising events to pay for a facility. Events included sponsored spelling tests and discos.

Now the hard work of the community has paid off with £7,500 raised in 18 months.

This has been added to by a £5,000 grant from Yorventure, the Government body which distributes funds from landfill tax credit schemes.

Headteacher at Croft Primary School Brenda Higgins said: "It has been a real case of everybody mucking in together to make the dream a reality and the Yorventure grant was a welcome boost.

"The village has no play facilities and neither does our neighbouring village of Dalton. We also have a lot of children travelling in to the holiday club so the play area will be extremely well used. It will be an excellent community facility."

The play area will be split into two sections to ensure it can be used by children of all ages.

Low level equipment and safety surfaces will be laid for younger children while older children will be encouraged to take part in sports and creative play in a separate section.

Work is due to start after the Easter school holiday.